We present ground-based observations of the 2041 cm(exp -1) (4.9 mm) absorption feature toward the deeply embedded protostar W33A. We attribute this interstellar feature to solid carbonyl sulphide (OCS) embedded in icy grain mantles along the line of sight. We have made an extensive laboratory study of the infrared characteristics of OCS in various ice mixtures. Studies of the 2041 cm(exp -1) band of solid OCS and solid mixtures containing OCS show that its shape and peak position are sensitive to the molecular environment of the OCS molecule. Mie scattering calculations show that the peak position and profile of the OCS band depend on the shape and size of the absorbing grain when the OCS concentration is larger than 0.05. For lower OCS concentrations, laboratory-measured bulk spectra agree very well with the absorption spectra of small grains. We have compared the observed feature with laboratory and theoretical spectra of astrophysically relevant mixtures. The best agreement is obtained for mixtures with traces of OCS in a methanol-rich matrix. This would suggest the presence of independent grain components and in particular of a minor fraction of methanol-rich icy grain mantles in which OCS is embedded. From the strength of the absorption feature we deduce a OCS/H2O ratio, along the line of sight, of 4 x 10(exp -4).